Lyme disease has not gone away

shoes in a forestLyme disease, a serious bacterial infection, is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi. This bacterium is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected black-legged tick (also known as a deer tick). The majority of Lyme disease cases occur in the spring and summer months when ticks are most active.

Lyme disease is a serious infection that can have potentially devastating consequences if left untreated. Lyme disease can be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms mimic those of other conditions, such as the flu or arthritis. If you think you may have been exposed to ticks or if you develop any of the symptoms associated with Lyme disease, it’s important to see your doctor right away for proper diagnosis and treatment.

Lyme disease exists under our collective radar. We’ve heard about it, we might have a friend or family member who suffers from it, but very little attention is paid to it compared to other medical conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. This tick-borne illness, however, continues to infect people and cause profound pain and suffering.

In fact, according to recent statistics, Lyme disease has been shedding its “east coast only” reputation by showing up and rapidly growing in places like California, Oregon and Washington. But how would you know if you have contracted Lyme disease?

First off, Lyme disease symptoms manifest a week or two after initial infection, and present like the flu. The differentiating factor is often the presence of a rash somewhere on the body. Called a Erythema Multiforme rash, it often looks like a bulls-eye. But not everyone gets the rash, which makes it harder to diagnose, since many Lyme disease symptoms mirror symptoms that are common to other conditions.

After the initial symptoms, if the condition goes undiagnosed, sufferers can experience numbness in certain parts of the body, involuntary muscle spasms, impaired speech, and even difficulty walking.

There are over 100 strains of the bacteria that cause Lyme disease, but the standard tests doctors use can’t detect all of them. Lyme disease testing technology has not evolved much over the years, which leads to many cases going undetected.

With over 300,000 Americans per year reportedly infected with Lyme disease, there should be a much more active discussion surrounding infection, treatment, and prevention. If you live in a heavily wooded area, protect yourself by:

  • Conducting frequent tick checks
  • Using tick repellents
  • Wearing light-colored clothing that doesn’t expose your skin

If you think you might have contracted Lyme disease, or are currently looking for alternative methods for treating the condition, contact us today!

Brain health starts here

Happy fit senior having fun surfing at sunset time - Sporty bearWhat does it look like to age gracefully in mind and body? There are multi-million dollar industries dedicated to helping people look youthful on the outside, but few are focused on maintaining brain health as they advance in years. The latter is critically important to maintaining quality of life.

For instance, you might have heard about dementia. Dementia is not a specific disease but is instead a general term for the impaired ability to remember, think, or make decisions. This deficiency interferes with everyday activities. Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. Though dementia mainly affects older adults, it’s not a part of normal aging. In other words, it doesn’t have to be your fate. Per the experts, there are actions you can take to reduce or avoid cognitive decline. The best part? Many of these tips won’t cost you much or require a lot of time.

Here’s a look at a few FAQs and answers:

Which risk factors are considered adaptable, and which are out of our control?

In a small percentage of cases, when dementia affects a person at a younger age (before 65) and is prevalent in the family, the risk factor is genetic. For most people, dementia is considered sporadic and has multiple modifiable risk factors, like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or social isolation.

When should we start making efforts to address modifiable risk factors? Is delaying onset something to strive for?

You’re never too young to think about making lifestyle changes to support brain health. For instance, staying active, eating a well-balanced diet, maintaining a rich social life, getting enough rest, following a meditation practice and keeping depression in check can reduce the risk of dementia. These habits are generally what healthcare professionals recommend to help you look and feel your best.

We could dedicate a whole blog about the importance of sleep and its impact on cognitive function. Inadequate sleep is linked to slower thinking and risk of dementia. That said opt for 7-9 hours of sleep. Pay attention to sleep hygiene and take steps to ensure you’re prioritizing sleep even if it means setting healthy boundaries regarding your personal or professional life.

Sleep and diet go hand in glove. Nutrition experts recommend avoiding five foods that have been shown to be toxic to the brain. These include red meats, fried or fast foods, pastries or sweets, butter and cheese. On the note of diet, you might consider taking supplements if your diet lacks certain nutrients.

What’s the relationship between dementia and stress?

Stress is a part of everyday life in the modern world, but when it persists, it can cause internal changes and chemical imbalances detrimental to your brain and the body.

Keeping stress levels in check can improve your brain health and reduce your risk of dementia. In turn, when you’re mindful of your risk of depression and high blood pressure you can also help to curb the risk of early onset dementia. Speaking of toxins, alcohol and drugs can also weaken cognitive ability. Frequent and excessive use can damage memory circuits and accelerate the decline in mental aging.

How can I challenge my brain to keep it youthful?

Binging on Netflix might be fun for a bit but it’s not a recipe for brain health. The same goes for doom scrolling. There are several ways to stimulate your brain and keep it young simultaneously. For instance, hobbies can help boost your mind, slowing down or preventing memory loss. The same can be said of brain games like crosswords and jigsaw puzzles. Engaging in cultural activities like concerts, art shows and lectures can keep the neurons firing. Last, make a point to cross-train your brain. We all have things we’re naturally good at, cognitively. However, by trying new things, we can open up neural pathways. So don’t be afraid to learn a new language or take a software coding class to keep the brain guessing.

What other considerations should I keep in mind to help protect my brain?

Falls can be life-threatening in more ways than one. The consequences can be a head injury, broken bones or other trauma that triggers gradual or sudden loss of function. That’s why it’s important to implement exercises that help with balance and strength. Also, be mindful of your choice of recreational activities. If you bike or ski, wear a helmet and encourage others to do the same.

It’s possible to make meaningful changes that can help prevent or slow down memory loss. We believe that promoting the health of the mind and body requires a complete approach to lifestyle, nutrition, addressing physical activity levels and sleep quality, and looking for any allergies or intolerances. If you’re fed up with traditional medicine and want answers, that’s exactly what we offer. Give us a call at (703) 822-5003to make an appointment. Your brain will thank you!

Stress: Don’t go down that road

Desperate businesswoman and business failureStress is a natural response to the environmental changes and external stimuli that we encounter on a regular basis. It is the body’s response to any demand.

Stress is a natural and automatic response that occurs in reaction to our environment, thoughts or emotions. When we perceive a threat, our bodies prepare us to either fight or take flight by releasing hormones like adrenaline and cortisol. This stress response can be beneficial in small doses as it can help us to stay alert and focused. However, when we are constantly under stress, it can take a toll on our physical and mental health.

Chronic stress can lead to a number of health problems, including high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, diabetes, anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Stress can also make existing health conditions worse. It is important to find ways to manage stress in order to protect our health.

It may sound like we are being alarmist, but we are not. Stress can kill you. While we don’t ever actually see “stress” listed on someone’s death certificate, it is the main culprit behind many fatal conditions. In fact, the list of common (fatal and non-fatal) disorders and ailments related to stress is longer than you think.

Ready for it?

Effects on the Body

  • Headache
  • Muscle tension
  • Increase in heart disease risk
  • Fatigue
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Bowel problems
  • Hormonal changes

Effects on the Mind

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Restlessness
  • Decreased motivation
  • Lack of focus
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Irritability

Effects on Behavior

  • Overeating
  • Undereating
  • Anger
  • Drug use
  • Social isolation

Quite frankly, so many unfortunate side effects can be traced back to stress. While we can’t completely eliminate stress (we live in a world filled with stressful situations that impact our day-to-day life), we do have to find effective ways to manage it. Our lives depend on it.

Managing your Stress

If you are experiencing active symptoms of stress, try taking up activities that are known to help ease stress and stressful situations. Have you investigated stress management activities? There are so many options out there, and depending on your personality and your passions, there’s bound to be something out there that will help you deal with stress.

For some people, this means a long drive or an afternoon on the beach, completely unplugged from the “real world.” For others, sky diving or rock climbing is more effective. Listen to your body, trust your instincts and invest the time and energy into your well-being. It might seem frivolous to take an afternoon “off” to deal with overwhelming stress, but once you stop to think about how much your stress is impacting everyone around you, you’ll realize it isn’t a selfish act at all.

Banish holiday bloat

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Are your holidays sometimes too jolly and you end up feeling like the big guy in the red suit? No one is perfect and sometimes it’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits when we don’t have a game plan to stay on track.

If you find yourself bloated around this time of year, read on to learn some ways you can take control of your health. Feeling and looking your best year-round is possible with some planning and discipline. That said, here are some ways to beat seasonal bloat:

1. Recognize your triggers

As a guest, you might feel like it’s rude to ask about the menu but going into a situation blind can be a recipe for disaster. If you find yourself feeling less than great after eating dairy, gluten or another trigger, you might want to come up with a game plan to avoid having to feel “off.” For instance, you might offer to bring a dish so you know you have something you can eat if all else fails. Realize that an invitation doesn’t have to mean eating. After all, being present is the best gift you can give your friends and family.

2. Don’t save calories for the party

Eating consistently during the day can help keep you from over-eating at the party. Waiting too long between meals can cause you to binge and eating too fast can induce bloating. Instead of stockpiling all your calories for a big meal, it’s best to not skip meals. Hydration is important too, especially if you plan to consume alcohol at any point.

3. Make food swaps

The holidays don’t have to be associated with over-indulging. You can have your cake and eat it, too, so long as you’re intentional. For instance, instead of a cheese ball and crackers, you might prepare a platter with hummus and fresh veggies. Instead of loading up on starches like yeast rolls, you might enjoy whole-grain rice or quinoa. Instead of a large piece of pie, you might consider having a piece of fruit.

If it’s too much time and effort to make these switches, you might do better with sticking to basic nutrition guidelines. Build a balanced plate filling 1/3 with produce, 1/3 with lean protein, and the remaining 1/3 with any favorite side dishes. This allows you to not feel deprived without having to worry about feeling heavy and uncomfortable after. Win-win!

4. Add leafy greens to your plate

Veggies are true wonders in that they tend to be high-water content and are also low in calories and packed with vitamins, minerals and fiber. Think spinach, kale, asparagus and the like. Fiber is a friend to anyone because it keeps things moving along in your digestive tract, a great way to maintain weight. However, if you’re trying to increase your veggie intake, it’s best to do so gradually. That’s because adding too much in too fast can be a shock to your system and result in more bloat. Also, be sure that you’re upping water intake as well when you make this change, as your body needs more hydration to break down the food.

5. Limit alcoholic drinks

While booze is a common addition to a holiday spread, drinking alcohol after eating a lot of calories can exacerbate bloating. That’s because alcohol drives inflammation in the body, stymying digestion and making you retain water. It can also lead to swelling in the body, which can result in gas, discomfort and bloating. That’s why people who are trying to lose weight often cut out alcohol.

To prevent dehydration and up your water intake, you might consider investing in a large water bottle with lines that mark your intake. You can also download apps to remind you to drink water or set a reminder on your phone. Either way, water intake is a way to stave off dehydration and related bloat. You might try adding a lemon or a sugar-free flavoring to keep things interesting.

You might be able to avoid the temptation altogether by making a mocktail. There are many fun recipes that pack a mean punch of flavor without the booze. You might even find some low-sugar ones. You can look to sites like Pinterest for inspiration. The sober community is growing so you’re in good company if you don’t imbibe this holiday season or at any social engagement.

Holidays or not, we believe that achieving health and wellness is accessible to the everyday person. That means looking at lifestyle, nutrition, addressing physical activity levels and sleep quality and looking for any allergies or intolerances. If you’re fed up with traditional medicine and want answers (maybe not found online), that’s exactly what we offer. Give us a call at (703) 822-5003to make an appointment. And happy holidays from all of us at Proactive Wellness Centers! We wish you a happy and healthy new year ahead.

Belly fat: much more than an aesthetic problem

41379587 - fat, overweight, diet.Do you look in the mirror and see a little pudge around the waist. It can bring a fast frown to your face. It’s discouraging and even disheartening. However, perhaps you should be frowning not for how you look, but for what that extra bit of weight is doing to the inside of your body. Excess body fat around your belly and waist is called visceral fat.

There are two types of fat, subcutaneous, which is external fat, the kind you can pinch with your finger, and visceral, which is more of a silent killer. Visceral fat lives within your body, and not just in your belly. It also collects around your organs. To put it frankly, visceral fat is not good.

Studies show that visceral fat is more metabolically active than subcutaneous fat. That means it’s more likely to cause health problems. For example, visceral fat releases inflammatory substances that can damage blood vessels and lead to heart disease. It also interferes with the body’s ability to use insulin, which can lead to diabetes. In many cases, when you are struggling with a round mid-section, you may also have a fatty liver, which can be determined through simple tests.

To get rid of this unwanted belly fat, you will want to watch what you eat, incorporate regular exercise (high-intensity workouts, especially), and limit the amount of sugar and alcohol you consume. Rather than indulging in that extra piece of cake or having that second or third beer, why not go for a leafy green or down a glass of water instead?

Furthermore, are you eating more carbs than protein? Put down the bag of chips and go for a helping of lentils or other legumes. Proteins that are rich in the right kind of fatty acids go a long way to keeping your waistline trim. Cold-water fish like salmon, cod and steelhead trout do the trick, as does grass-fed beef, elk and bison. Or you might even consider going vegetarian!

If that’s too drastic, try limiting or removing gluten and dairy from your diet. Research shows that a gluten-heavy diet is bad for your mid-section, practically opening the door for visceral fat to form. Dairy can lead to hormonal changes and trigger inflammation. Remember, the milk of a mother cow is meant to stimulate rapid growth in a calf. A newborn calf weighs 65-75 lbs. A newborn human weighs around 5-9 lbs.

There are many ways to root out dangerous visceral fat, but all of them require a level of dedication and discipline. Are you ready to do what it takes not only to look better but also to feel better on the inside?

Not all online health information is created equal

Confused young woman looking on laptop feels bewildered by reading online newsAnalysis paralysis?

Do you ever feel overwhelmed by the amount of information available on the internet about health? Between social media feeds, news sites and other sources, you might be getting conflicting information and feel confused or untrusting of credible sources. Furthermore, misinformation can lead to dangerous consequences like sickness and even death.

While sites like Facebook have taken it upon themselves to crack down on false and harmful information, there are still bad actors with malicious intentions lurking in the recesses of the internet sometimes in places you might not suspect.

Just how big of an issue is this? Consider the fact that falsehoods are 70% more likely to get shared than accurate news. To counter this, the World Health Organization has taken a number of actions with tech companies to remain one step ahead of misinformation.

This all begs the question: how can you determine— a lay person — what’s credible and what’s not? If you find yourself in this situation we’ve put together a helpful guide you can lean on when evaluating information:

Whose website is it?

Sources need to be unbiased without an agenda. Some of the best websites to gather evidence-based health information include:

  • Government agencies (e.g., National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Health Canada)
  • Medical schools and hospitals (e.g., Harvard Medical School, Mayo Clinic)
  • Online journals and research databases (e.g., PubMed)
  • Professional or nonprofit organizations (e.g., Environmental Working Group (EWG), American Heart Association)

What is the purpose of the website’s content?

Put in the time to determine the site’s underlying purpose. Is it trying to sell products or services? Many brands will have educational blogs on their websites that feature information written or at least corroborated by credible sources. While not always inherently dangerous, it’s important to review any health-related content on a brand’s site to ascertain whether the claims are sound, or if they’re just trying to make a quick buck.

How is the information selected and reviewed to make sure it’s accurate?

  • Vetting is a best practice in the scientific community. That said, you can poke around the site and find out if the site has:
  • An editorial board of health experts
  • A content review process
  • A selection policy for content
  • Information about their writers’ qualifications, which may be listed at the bottom of the articles

If the source ticks all of these boxes, it’s likely to be more credible than not.

When was the information written?

A piece of content from 2012 might no longer be up to the standards of the scientific community. As research advances the domain, older sources might no longer be relevant or accurate. That’s what it’s best to look for published or last updated dates on websites, which can typically be found at the top or bottom of the webpage.

Does the website make health claims that sound too good to be true?

Be skeptical of media outlets that make unrealistic promises (i.e. drop 30 pounds in a month). There’s a good chance they’re playing into the quick-fix mentality and are desperate to sell you a product that doesn’t work or isn’t safe. At best you might throw away your hard-earned money and at worst, you could end up in the hospital. You could avoid both by taking the time to scope out the entity behind the site and what they stand for.

Consult with experts

Not all online health information is created equal, so take care to analyze each piece of information through a scrutinizing lens. In general, seek health information from your practitioner or reputable sources such as the government, academia, peer-reviewed medical journals, medical schools, hospitals and professional or nonprofit organizations.

If you have concerns about something you read, it’s best to have a conversation with your practitioner and ask them for their recommendations for finding credible sources for health information. Furthermore, always speak to your practitioner before adding or changing anything in your wellness plan. Supplements and other products are not regulated by the FDA and can interfere with medications and cause contraindications.

As our name implies, we’re all about empowering you to live your best life and that starts with knowledge. If you’re looking for some guidance on anything related to your health and wellness, we can help. Integrative medicine tries to recognize that each individual is unique and is facing unique circumstances that may be impacting their health and wellness. We believe that promoting the health of the body takes a complete approach to lifestyle, nutrition, addressing physical activity levels and sleep quality, and looking for any allergies or intolerances. If you’re fed up with traditional medicine and want answers (maybe not found online), that’s exactly what we offer. Give us a call at (703) 822-5003and breathe a sigh of relief knowing you’re closer to living a fuller life.

Junk food: how it is going to kill you

81052890 - man eating junk food and driving seated in his carSure, the title of this post may be a bit harsh, but guess what else is harsh? Junk food is harsh on your body. It may be easy to give into that Big “Fat” Mac or Seven Layers “Of Poor Health” Burrito, but when you’re done eating them, that’s exactly what you’ll have: excess fat and poor health.

Don’t get us wrong, we aren’t trying to be excessively negative or depressing. We’re just trying to save your health and, ultimately, your life. Junk food sure is quick and easy; a quick and easy way to potential health issues. And don’t be fooled; even junk foods that are low in calories are bad for you. Why? Because they are excessively processed, filled with artificial ingredients and lacking in the essential nutrients your body needs.

Do you feel fatigued, stressed or suffer from a lack of focus? Perhaps you have been to the doctor a dozen times for fibromyalgia, a chronic musculoskeletal pain syndrome, or diabetes, when your body does not make enough insulin or cannot use the insulin it makes effectively. If so, are you feeling trapped by the daily pills and wondering if it’s the only way? Have you considered what you are eating as being a potential contributor?

Highly processed junk foods contain unhealthy ingredients such as nitrates, bad fats, sugar or artificial sweeteners, salt or other unwanted chemicals as a result of the way they are processed. Just consider for a moment the number of machines processed foods go through on their way to your mouth. By the time they hit the grocery shelf or fast food counter, they have been so burnt, frozen, dehydrated and stuffed with preservatives, they have pretty much no chance of providing you with any kind of nutrition.

Many people suffer from chronic disorders that their physicians have trouble either diagnosing or treating. Yet, far too few family doctors ask their patients, “What are you eating?”

There is a reason why the popular saying, “you are what you eat” exists. The last thing you need is to feed your body junk!

Here are some tips for giving up junk food:

  1. Get rid of any junk food that’s currently in your house. If it’s not there, you won’t be tempted to eat it.
  2. Avoid places where you usually buy junk food. If the grocery store is your weak spot, try shopping online or at a different store altogether.
  3. Find healthy alternatives to your favorite junk foods. If you love chips and dip, try carrot sticks and hummus instead. Craving ice cream? Make yourself a healthy smoothie with frozen fruit and yogurt.
  4. Don’t beat yourself up if you slip up sometimes. Everyone does! Just get back on track as soon as possible and don’t let one bad choice turn into an all-out binge.

Eating well on a budget

128601581_MEating a diet rich in nutrients has benefits, no matter your age, health status or other factors. People who prioritize eating well tend to have longer lifespans and are at lower risk for chronic (long-term) health conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and obesity. For those managing chronic conditions, healthy eating has been proven to make a difference in terms of quality of life.

Nutritious meals are commonly thought to be more expensive than junk food, but that doesn’t have to be the case. You can achieve this goal by being more mindful of your choices. Consider the following four tips for healthy eating on a budget.

1. Prioritize making home-cooked meals.
Eating at home curbs costs and helps you better control ingredients, portions and calorie intake. This habit can set you up for success because you’re more likely to eat more fruits and veggies. Plus, eating at home is also generally more cost-effective per person than eating out regularly.

2. Meal plan.
Creating a meal plan and related shopping list is a great idea because it can reduce the number of impulse purchases and keep the grocery bill within budget. There’s an art and a science to doing this. For instance, start by taking inventory of what you have in the fridge and pantry and work backward. You can even find inspiration from internet recipes, cookbooks, Pinterest and friends to curate a menu that’s both tasty and healthful.

From here, come up with a meal plan that suits your lifestyle and budget. For instance, hectic school nights might call for keeping meals simple. Consider using recipes with common ingredients that can be used for multiple meals. For example, you might make a big pot of rice and use it as a side for a stir-fry one night and freeze the rest for another meal. Proteins like beans and lentils make for great staples that will fill you up and provide fiber, which is essential to healthy digestion.

Once you have a game plan, head to the store with a list and do your best to stick to it. You might consider using apps to track what you’ve purchased to streamline your trips to the store. There are some options that even help you follow a certain dietary preference, such as vegetarianism or veganism.

3. Compare similar products.
The grocery store can feel like sensory overload. There are a lot of different foods to choose from and you might not always feel empowered to make the best decisions. Comparing similar products according to nutritional value and cost per serving can be helpful when trying to stay within your means.

Also, be sure you’re comparing apples to apples. Some grocery items may have a lower retail price (total cost) but a higher unit price. The unit price indicates the cost per serving or weight, such as cost per pound or ounce. A lower unit price, however, indicates a better value, even if the retail price is higher than comparable products. For example, food sold in single-serving packaging often has a higher unit price than the full-size version. This is why it’s recommended to buy the full-size product and create individual portions at home to control costs.

It should be mentioned that buying foods is bulk is often the way to get the lowest unit price. Save money by buying non-perishable items like starches in bulk. You might consider making an investment in a Costco membership to help bring down food costs.

Another proven tactic to save money at the checkout is to purchase the store brand. Items like canned vegetables, dairy products, oils, and frozen fruits and vegetables are usually available in generic versions and usually, there’s no meaningful difference in taste or flavor.

4. Purchase in-season produce.
Buying strawberries in the winter isn’t the best idea for your pocketbook. That’s because eating in-season produce can result in lower prices. If you’re really craving something that’s not in season, you might consider the canned or frozen variety. However, select ideas usually don’t fluctuate much in cost during the year and those include apples, bananas, carrots, lettuce and oranges.

Be conscientious about how much produce you will eat throughout the week, as fresh produce spoils faster than canned or frozen varieties. If you budget allows, try to buy a mix of fresh, frozen, and shelf-stable fruits and vegetables.

In short, eating well might seem like a tall order on a budget but it’s very possible when you’re equipped and armed with the combination of knowledge and planning to make better decisions. You’ve got this!

Still, healthy eating isn’t the only path to optimal health. We believe that promoting the health of the body takes a complete approach to lifestyle, nutrition, addressing physical activity levels and sleep quality, and looking for any allergies or intolerances. If you’re fed up with traditional medicine and want answers (maybe not found online), that’s exactly what we offer. Give us a call at to make an appointment.

When it comes to fat, it’s location, location, location

53101243 - happiness is the best motivationNot all fat is created equal.

That’s because the location of your body fat may determine how much of a role it plays in boosting your risk for health problems.

Subcutaneous fat, or the fat on your arms, legs and hips, is fairly benign. But visceral fat, or the kind that extends in your abdomen and surrounds your organs, can pose problems.

Why? Because belly fat has been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, cancer, diabetes and a host of other conditions, according to research. And sorry guys, belly fat tends to be a bigger problem for you than women.

Researchers are investigating why belly fat causes such a problem. But for the everyday person, it is important to know where to start and how much belly fat you might have.

So how do you tell if belly fat is getting the best of you? Measure your waist. While waist circumference alone cannot diagnose the body fatness or overall health of an individual, it is a valuable screening tool according to the CDC. In general, for women, 32 inches or less is healthy; 33-34 inches is overweight; 35 inches or more is obese. For men, 37 inches or less is healthy; 38-39 inches is overweight; 40 inches or more is obese.

If you want to improve your health and get rid of that waistline fat, there are a few things you can do. Exercise is one of the most important things you can do to reduce abdominal fat. Try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise every day. This could include walking, biking, swimming or any other activity that gets your heart rate up and makes you sweat.

In addition to exercise, diet is also important when trying to lose abdominal fat. Eating fewer calories than you burn will help create a calorie deficit, which will force your body to start burning stored fat for energy. Try to focus on eating whole, unprocessed foods like fruits, vegetables, lean protein and healthy fats. Avoid sugary drinks, processed foods, and excessive amounts of alcohol.

If you want to lose abdominal fat quickly, you may need to temporarily increase the intensity of your exercise and/or diet. However, make sure not to overdo it – too much exercise or too drastic of a calorie deficit can lead to problems like muscle loss or metabolic slowdown. Once you’ve reached your goal weight, you can then focus on maintaining it through a healthy lifestyle.

Ready to shed some belly fat? Nutrition, fluids and exercise can help jump start the waistline revolution. Pick one place to start, such as exercise and begin making it a habit. Studies indicate that regular exercise — even just brisk walking for 30 to 45 minutes a day — can make a significant dent in the circumference of your waist. If you need some guidance, feel free to give us a call.

#Goodvibesonly: How to make your house feel like a home

Elegant living room interior in luxury houseYour home should be your sanctuary, a place where you can leave the day’s problems and stressors at the door. How does your home make you feel? If it’s anything less than calm, collected and serene, you might have a project on your hands.

Speaking of mental health, we at Proactive Wellness employ an integrative approach to health. This means that mental and physical health are inextricably linked. In other words, what’s good for one is good for the other. Making changes in one area can help or hinder other facets of health.

That’s why we challenge patients to look at all the dimensions of their health and focus on weak areas. Your home’s atmosphere might be one important factor you hadn’t considered in the context of your larger health goals, but it does matter. To create a space that’s good for the body, mood and soul, you might consider gradually implementing the following changes in your home:

Bring the outdoors in. Houseplants, fresh-cut flowers and blooming bulbs, pieces of wood, rocks and other natural elements can help conjure Mother Nature. In addition, you might consider items like small fountains for the same effect.

Paint a room to evoke a mood. Different colors are associated with different moods and feelings. For instance, blue and green are calming and great choices for the bedroom. Warn colors (maroon, coral, burgundy) are heartier, heavier and may suit a family room or reading room.

Behold the power of scent. Whether it’s a diffuser, candle, or even making your own home fragrance on the stove, smell has a powerful effect on mood and wellbeing.

Create a mini sanctuary. A place for spiritual reflection and meditation can help you unplug and deal with the stressors of everyday life. It can be a whole room or even just a corner in your house. What matters is that you have such a space carved out for this purpose. Do your best to keep digital distractions to a minimum.

Prioritize cleaning and tame clutter. There’s something about a clean house that puts you at ease. However, a grimy one can affect your mood and outlook. If you have trouble staying on top of regular cleaning consider hiring a cleaning service. Plus, a low-maintenance abode is great for mental health after a demanding day. Fewer items can mean less frustration. Spend time regularly decluttering and following a more minimalistic philosophy by discarding what no longer serves you and only buying items that you truly need or want.

Focus on what fills your heart with joy. Display handmade or meaningful gifts from loved ones and photos of family and friends. Nothing can lift your mood faster than seeing a photo from that awesome family vacation.

Focus on lighting. During the day, open up the blinds or curtains to let in natural sunlight. In the early morning and evening, use candlelight to set the tone for relaxation.

Make comfort a priority. Throw pillows, soft rugs, and snuggly blankets are tried-and-true ways to bring in softness. And if you want to feel like you’re at the spa, fluffy towels, a plush bathrobe, and some cozy slippers are must-haves. High-quality linens and comfortable furniture are worth the investment since you spend so much time at home.

At the end of the day, you want your home to feel like a respite, not a place you avoid because the vibe is off. By adding some special touches you can curate your own calm in the storm of life. What might you consider changing or improving to make your home a place that serves you?